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Very interesting question teraBanda, and a great one that we all should be asking. I will explain what knowledge I have received during katha, please forgive me for any mistakes. My understanding is this: We have a body, mind and soul. The body is temporary, a vessel and obviously we are reincarnated over 8.4 million lifeforms and thus the body's appearance changes. The soul is one with God already. The mind is what travels in these lifeforms and is different than the brain. Modern medicine doesn't really deal with the mind. The mind is something that Gurbani teaches us about. The mind is what accumulates the filth of our actions, the mind is what decides what types of thoughts to take. Gurbani tells us there are three types of thoughts we take- Tamogun, Rajogun, and Satogun. It is our personal will that we take whichever thought we take, but we are also influenced by our past. Tamogun thoughts are of kaam, krodh, lob, moh, hankaar, nindiya, chugli, irkha, etc. People who take those thoughts are reborn into water lifeforms. Rajogun thoughts are anxieties and wordly matters, what most of us spend our time thinking about. Satogun is compassion, good thoughts, humility, etc. People who take Rajogun thoughts are reborn on land. People who take satogun are reborn in the sky- birds etc. So our goal is to move about thoughts. That means you walk the path of LIV- a path of love for God. You take good thoughts- but that's not all, you need to stop the mind from creating thoughts altogether. So through simran and all the tools Guru Ji gives us like sangat, kirtan, etc. we can move towards stopping our thoughts. When we focus on the sound of the simran we can stop all other thoughts but one thought- WAHEGURU. Then from there, we learn to listen to Naam, Anhad Bani, and then from there, people move to seeing Jot Parkash, and taking Amrit Ras, and then through to finally their merger with Waheguru. That process of how we live our life is defined in the 4 Laav's- the fourth is the merger with God. So the source is our personal will, but we are influenced by our past and what tendencies we will have to have what types of thoughts, and with God's grace and blessings we walk that path of Liv and the rare person becomes merged.